"And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave." I Kings 19:11-13
I've always liked this story of Elijah. It's so easy to picture him waiting to hear God's voice. It makes sense that we might expect Him to speak in the booming voice of a mighty wind, or in the powerful action of an earthquake, or in a myriad of other grand or frightening ways. But He speaks to us best in the quiet. In the still, small voice that we hear within ourselves when we seek Him humbly, open to whatever He might say.
And He spoke to us in the words and actions of His Son. Through His Son we understand more about the God who is our Creator. The One who willingly laid down His life on our behalf, to pay a debt that was too great for us to pay, to ransom our lives for Himself, and to show us the way we should live.
I draw near to Him when I contemplate His life, and when I read the lives of the Saints, and consider their example. And I find solace in the earth around me, in its myriad signs and endless evidence of a Creator that loves beauty.
The blue sky, the sight of plants and birds, the slightly warmer breeze-- all evidence that there is a change at hand. The dark of winter with grey and cold, is giving way to something new.
I love the depiction of Mary here, and her warm and tender countenance both toward her Son, and toward us. I am grateful for her intercession for my family and friends.
I am aware though, that for many, the concept of Mary, and the place she holds in the hearts of many Catholics is confusing and perhaps troubling. Mary is a type of surrogate mother, but so much more than that! I do not worship her, but I love her dearly and hold her in high regard. Jesus gave her to us as Mother, and gave us to her as children. I ask her to pray for me, and for those people that I hold dear. For just as my own mother might have been called upon when I felt the need for support, insight or some special help, so I turn to her, considering her life and devotion to Jesus.
It's difficult for me to adquately explain the Catholic's devotion to Mary. There is ample theology to explain her position in the Church. Mary does hold a highly esteemed place within our Faith, because she, apart from all others, was selected by God to be God's Mother. And she, in turn, gave her complete "Yes" to God the Father's will, graciously accepting that she was to be "Christ Bearer".
In spite of our inability to fully understand God's will for us, her example of simple faith and trust in the One who created us shows us the way. God will do what He wills if we give our assent.
Jesus did the same, humbly accepting the Father's will. We are, none of us, worthy of the high calling to which we have been called. But because of the Father's extravagent love toward us, we have been found worthy to be called his sons and daughters.
In the history of salvation, Mary is integral, and *always* points to her Son. Our devotion to her as Catholics, is because of her favored position with the Father. As our Mother, she is always disposed to help us through her intercession.
So when I entreat the communion of Saints, I am happy for Her love for me. She is not only Jesus' mother, but she is mine as well. And her prayers, together with ours, can change history.
We are well into Lent this year. I'm reading some inspiring books, and sharing insights with others who are doing the same.
These Stations of the Cross are chiseled into the concrete or plaster wall. The image that you see is actually created from negative space. You can place your hand into the image. The textures and depth are created by the shadow and depth of the plaster/concrete that has been removed. Quite unique and beautiful in their simplicity. The Chapel of St. Basil, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX. February 26, 2006.
The quote below is from one of the books I am reading, from the Third week of Lent, Tuesday meditation-- "The humility of recognising the many debts we owe to God helps us to pardon and to forgive others. If we look to see what God has forgiven us, we realise that what we ought to forgive others - even in serious matters - is little..." --from Francis Fernandez, "In Conversation with God'
Francis Fernandez's daily meditations are a few pages long and reference many scriptures and spiritual writers, but especially correlate with the scripture readings for that day. I only reproduced a sentence or two that seemed to convey some of what touched me, and when I look at the cross and this particular image of Jesus falling, it makes me consider what he endured and how he has forgiven me my own (many) faults.
I'm a wife, a mother of grown children, and work full time as a nurse practitioner with cancer patients. My work is gratifying often, and difficult and sad sometimes, too.
I'm average and extraordinary, just as you are. I've experienced profound failures, significant disappointments, had a few successes, and been the recipient of a lot of mercy. I try to keep perspective on what's important in life, and not get too upset about the rest.
My Catholic faith is important to me, and while I'm no theologian, it's my intention that my faith inform my outlook and values, and inspire personal virtue. I love that God desires to reveal himself to us. I love the small hints, the little bread crumbs, the multiple clues, and the pieces of the puzzle that dot the created world and point to the hand of the Creator. I love that He uses beauty, art, science, all his creatures and the invisible realm of our heart and emotions to communicate His goodness to us. And I love that the fullness of his love can be seen in the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, which makes me free.